An Open Letter to President Obama and the U.S. Congress
Not since 1938 following the Great Depression and the creation of the Federal Minimum Wage, FMW, has our nation had as great an opportunity to create income equality and simultaneously stabilize our small businesses.
What people do not understand is that as opposed to when I was a young lad, we now have people who work a full 40 hour a week job but, in spite of that, are becoming homeless. Incredible! The basic opportunity to chase the American Dream has vaporized. Because the FMW was never linked to any economic standard, the cost of the most expensive item in the budget of every single American, housing, has now moved beyond the reach of every hard working minimum wage worker. A full time minimum wage worker simply cannot afford a one room, efficiency/studio, apartment.
We are a nation of a thousand plus economies. Everyone knows that the cost to live in Biloxi, MS, is not the same as it is to live in Santa Cruz, CA, or Washington, D.C., or New York City. One size does not fit all whether it is $7.25 per hour or $9.00 per hour. The federal minimum wage must relate to the minimum cost of housing where a person lives! In this fashion, if a person works 40 hours of work, then that full-time, minimum wage worker will not become homeless due to economics. This will end homelessness for over 1,000,000 minimum wage workers. Think of the tax savings. Small businesses that rely on these workers may finally be able to address their start up failure rate of 64% after 4 years and 90% after 5 years by no longer having to rely on destabilized workers. Carpe Diem!
See our formula and supporting arguments at www.UniveralLivingWage.org
Advocate Raising Money to Erect Statue Memorializing People Experiencing Homelessness
Click on the picture of the statue each month to follow the creation process!
Why We Can’t Wait: Wages As a Civil Rights Issue
1/21/13 — We honor the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by turning our attention to an issue that affects all working people of every color — the need for a Universal Living Wage. Read about it and Dr. King’s work in this article.
Thermal Underwear Drive Underway
12/22/12 — Austin residents and others are encouraged to donate winter clothing items and participate in House the Homeless’ Thermal Underwear Drive. The Thermal Underwear Drive is an annual event which has successfully raised money and clothing for people suffering from homelessness. House the Homeless Founder Richard R. Troxell — and sidekick “Homie” — spoke with Austin’s Fox 7. Please give generously.
6/22/12— Women experiencing homelessness are particularly vulnerable. Last week Valerie Godoy, a woman experiencing homelessness, was brutally murdered in Austin. There have been no arrests. Click here to add your name to a petition to bring a “women only” shelter in Austin. UPDATE 11/19/2012: We’ve reached over 3,500 paper and digital signatures. Thank you!
House the Homeless president, Richard R. Troxell, lays out a jobs plan to put millions of Americans back to work; jumpstart the construction industry building housing for the newly-employed; stimulate the economy through a surge in consumer spending; delay, reduce, and restructure foreclosures; while at the same time reducing taxes and subsidies from the federal government to the unemployed. Impossible? No! It’s actually quite realistic. Check out the plan here.
Support to End Economic Homelessness Grows
As our campaign to put a copy of our book into the hands of each member of the U.S. Congress and all governors continues, favorable responses abound. The responding political dignitaries include:
Gov. Terry E. Branstad (IA)
Gov. Scott Walker (WI)
Gov. John W. Hickenlooper (CO)
Gov. Steven L. Beshear (KY)
Gov. Deval L. Patrick (MA)
Gov. Brian Sandoval (NV)
Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee (RI)
Gov. Bill Haslam (TN)
Gov. Gary R. Herbert (UT)
Gov. Sean Parnell (AK)
Gov. Rick Snyder (MI)
Sen. Kelly A. Ayotte (NH)
Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (ME)
Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (HI)
Sen. Joe Manchin lll (WV)
Sen. Michael B. Enzi (WY)
Sen. Marco Rubio (FL)
Sen. Bob Corker (TN)
Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN)
Rep. Ed Whitfield (KY)
Rep. Spencer Bachus (AL)
Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (OH)
Rep. James Lankford (OK)
Rep. Lamar Smith (TX)
Rep. Charles A. Gonzalez (TX)
Rep. Joaquin Castro (TX)
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT)
Rep. Mo Brooks (AL)
You can see more letters of support here.
Dear Friends and Supporters,
Richard R. Troxell here. As many of you know, I’ve been working on a book about my life’s work. I have great news, Looking Up At The Bottom Line: The Struggle For The Living Wage! was released on Friday, October 1st, 2010. It not only tells my story and the story of the working poor; but most importantly, it launches the platform for the Universal Living Wage (ULW).
Enactment of the Universal Living Wage will end Homelessness for over 1,000,000 minimum wage workers. At the same time, it will prevent economic homelessness for all 10.1 million minimum wage workers.
You can buy my book on Amazon right here. All proceeds go to support efforts to end economic homelessness.
My book is an intense personal, political, and educational guide through the last 30 years of homelessness in America. I returned from Viet Nam confused and homeless. Wandering across America, I landed in Philadelphia. I was lucky. I met Max Weiner, a pioneer in consumer activism. After several years of pain, he changed my life.
My early years as an advocate for consumer’s rights and fighting foreclosures got me off the streets and led me to a life-long career with Legal Aid. I began refurbishing abandoned houses only to have them threatened by a declining economy and drug lords. So, I fought for and created Mobile Mini-Police Stations, which saved my neighborhood and are still in use today in several cities. Life taught me that the solutions to hard problems lie in the problems themselves.
In 1989, I founded the non-profit House the Homeless (HtH). I challenged a No Camping Ordinance for 5 years that criminalized the homeless for their economic circumstances by fining them $500 for sleeping outdoors. House the Homeless posed the question: Jail the homeless or job train them?
When Bergstrom Air Base was repurposed to become an airport, I tried to activate the McKinney Act, which allows federal property that is no longer in use or underutilized to be used for people experiencing homelessness. Again, in spite of a law to support my efforts, the hospital that worked for the military was deemed unsuitable for the homeless.
Do you know the primary cause of homelessness is the minimum wage? According to the US Conference of Mayors, a person working 40 hours a week, at a minimum wage of $7.25, doesn’t have enough money to afford a one-bedroom apartment anywhere in the United States.
Again, “the problem points to the solution.” Looking Up At The Bottom Line offers the solution: The Universal Living Wage (ULW). The ULW adjusts the federal minimum wage, and indexes it to the local cost of housing throughout the US. By doing so, any person who works 40 hours a week is able to afford basic rental housing (including utilities) along with food and clothing.
Please buy my book and let everyone know that there is an answer to economic homelessness. Enactment of the Universal Living Wage will conservatively end economic homelessness for over 1,000,000 people and prevent economic homelessness for all 10.1 million minimum wage workers.
It starts with purchasing Looking Up At The Bottom Line. We encourage you to purchase a copy for your local library or shelter — vital resources for the economic homeless.
Thanks for buying my book and for being a part of ending economic homelessness.